Yorkshire golf: Sheffield in box seat but York and Halifax-Huddersfield retain hopes of YIDU glory

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THE equation is simple for Sheffield: if they win their final match on Sunday they will be crowned Yorkshire Inter District Union champions for 2015.

For their opponents at Hickleton GC, title holders York, things are a little more complicated.

They need to prevail against Sheffield and hope that Bradford do likewise against Halifax-Huddersfield at Northcliffe.

Should those results come to pass then York will retain their crown.

However, even if York beat Sheffield they would surrender the championship to Halifax-Huddersfield if they beat Bradford.

Leaving aside all those imponderables, Sheffield captain Richard Hodgkinson is certain of one thing - that the final day wil be a tense, tight affair.

“I am anticipating it being pretty close,” said Hodgkinson, whose side have had to recover from a surprise second-series defeat to Teesside to put them in a position to win the title.

In their last two matches they have been imperious. Bradford were defeated 25-11 at Abbeydale and immediately before that they went to then leaders Halifax-Huddersfield - who boasted a perfect record from four matches - and swept them aside 30-6.

“I actually played in those two games, but what I heard in the post-mortem afterwards was that Halifax-Huddersfield didn’t play to their potential in pretty much all of the games,” said Sheffield’s captain.

“The last two games have been fantastic efforts, the amazing win against Halifax-Huddersfield and then a very good performance against Bradford last time out.

“But I think on Sunday there will be a lot of games going to 18 holes in both the morning and afternoon.”

Sheffield will be without three Yorkshire players who helped Darryl Berry’s side to the EGU Northern Counties title - English Men’s Amateur champion Joe Dean, his Lindrick club-mate Jonathan Thomson and Ben Brewster (Bawtry).

However, he still feels his side have great strength in depth and hopes this will prove to tip the championship scales in Sheffield’s favour.

“Traditionally in this game, if we can hold them in the top order of both the foursomes and the singles - the top three foursomes and the top six singles - I think we have every chance of the lower half coming through in our favour,” he said.

“They will be strong at the top and possibly not so strong at the bottom and I think our strength is pretty evenly weighted.”

Hodgkinson has been a member of several successful Sheffield teams and now stands on the brink of completing a double by captaining them to the title.

But York and Halifax-Huddersfield will hope they can cause one last twist in what has been a fascinating YIDU campaign.

Halifax-Huddersfield captain Dave Pullen welcomes the fact that champions York are still in the mix as it enhances his side’s chances of lifting the title.

While not taking anything for granted as Halifax-Huddersfield travel to face Bradford, Pullen admits he is “keeping my fingers crossed that York can do us a favour”.

He added: “It’s going to be an interesting last day – first against third and second against fourth.

“It is all to play for including for York as champions so you would expect them to put out the best team that they can to try to win the game because they can win the league from that if we slip up.

“It would be a travesty for us to finish third after the season we have had so we will be going all out for the win and see what happens.”

Pullen concurred with Hodgkinson’s assessment of the meeting between their two respective sides and says a softened course and a soft display from his men combined to work in Sheffield’s favour.

“We didn’t bring our A-game to the table, they did, and it was a course which suited them,” he said.

“It was a calm day after a couple of days rain and their guys are good enough that they can just pick a target and off they go.

“With a bit of breeze and the ball bouncing and running it might have given us a bit of home advantage.

“Richard (Hodgkinson) came up to me afterwards and said his boys loved Ogden and would be happy to play us there again. But I don’t think that will be happening.”

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